Question Regular fluctuations in GPU usage

Nov 19, 2019
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Hello!

I'm having trouble with my PC. On two different games, Dawn of Man and Planet Zoo, I get constant frame rate drops caused by my GPU usage suddenly dropping. It doesn't seem to matter whether I'm running max settings and getting 30 fps at 100% GPU, or 45-60 fps on the lowest settings, getting 40-60% usage. In the first case usage drops to around 20%, the latter single digits to mid teens. It lasts maybe a couple of seconds, then goes back to normal. With higher usage it happens every 30 seconds or so, lower usage every minute.

I've seen a couple postings about this but haven't had any luck finding a solution. I've done a clean install of my drivers, ran a memory test and came up with nothing. CPU isn't bottlenecking but usage does drop off at the same time as the GPU.

Here's my info, let me know if you have questions or advice. Thank you!

CPU: FX-8350
Mobo: ASRock 970 Extreme4
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 4x2gb
GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050ti 4gb G1 Gaming
PSU: Corsair Builders 600w 80+ Bronze
OS: Windows 10
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
What are your in game temps using AMD Overdrive?

Monitor the usage of EACH CPU CORE while playing - any of them hitting 90%, or sitting around there?
If you simply look at the cpu usage as a whole, you won't get an accurate reading of how the cpu handles the games.
 
Reactions: sdrober1
Nov 19, 2019
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Just downloaded the program and have it a go. CPU cores all run at relatively equal loads, and the running temp margin is 7-9°C.

However, Overdrive shows that when the GPU usage drop occurs CPU usage jumps almost instantly to 100%. Then it all goes back to normal for another 30 seconds.
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
CPU cores all run at relatively equal loads
And that number for each core is?

the running temp margin is 7-9°C.
That's hot, and is of no good long term. Your cooling situation needs improving.
-What's the current cpu cooler?
-Current case, and how many fans?
-Have you cleaned out the PC lately?

However, Overdrive shows that when the GPU usage drop occurs CPU usage jumps almost instantly to 100%. Then it all goes back to normal for another 30 seconds.
That indicates a cpu limitation - the memory could be taking a hit as well, so check ram usage during this.
 
Reactions: sdrober1
Nov 19, 2019
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They (CPU cores) all range between 60-80ish %, I'll run it again when I get home to check exact numbers for the different games and setting levels. Task manager reports memory usage is steady, but I'll take a look at that again tonight too.

I have the stock cooler on the cpu still, and I have an NZXT Phantom case. It came with 4 fans currently, 3x120mm and a 200mm. I just recently cleaned the filters and fan blades.
 
Reactions: Phaaze88
Nov 19, 2019
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For the CPU cores, at the lowest settings I'm getting 60-80%, averaging low 70s. High settings gets an average in the 80s, ranging 70-90%.

Memory usage is 80% depending on what I have in the background, but it never changes. At high settings it's around 89%.
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
For the CPU cores, at the lowest settings I'm getting 60-80%, averaging low 70s. High settings gets an average in the 80s, ranging 70-90%.

Memory usage is 80% depending on what I have in the background, but it never changes. At high settings it's around 89%.
Well, there it is... You need more ram.
Memory slows down when maxed out, or as it's approaching max capacity. Usage also increases(to a degree) over time - that 80% is already high as is.
So when the things get tough for the cpu, there's no extra headroom left because of the ram, thus the cpu core(s)usage also spikes to 100%.
Due to the hiccup there, the gpu usage has gone down because the number of frames being fed to it from the cpu + ram has decreased.


But I can't recommend simply upgrading the ram, due to how dated the current platform is. You'd be better off with a brand new cpu/motherboard/ram combo.
I'm not sure how well that motherboard would hold up with both an FX-8350 and 4 sticks of ram...
 
Reactions: sdrober1
Nov 19, 2019
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An upgrade is in the works for sure, but this is all I have at the moment. A 16 gig ram set would be around $50-70, a new CPU cooler maybe $20-30. Unfortunately my budget is $0.

I'll admit the system is older, hasn't had the best care, and is in need of major upgrade, but at least for Dawn of Man I meet most of the recommended settings. I should theoretically be able to play smoothly on low settings at the very least.

Planet Zoo min specs call for an FX-6350, 8 gigs of RAM, and a 2 gig video card. Shouldn't I be able to run that on some level as well?

Obviously I'm missing a piece of the puzzle here. What am I doing wrong?
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
An upgrade is in the works for sure, but this is all I have at the moment. A 16 gig ram set would be around $50-70, a new CPU cooler maybe $20-30. Unfortunately my budget is $0.

I'll admit the system is older, hasn't had the best care, and is in need of major upgrade, but at least for Dawn of Man I meet most of the recommended settings. I should theoretically be able to play smoothly on low settings at the very least.

Planet Zoo min specs call for an FX-6350, 8 gigs of RAM, and a 2 gig video card. Shouldn't I be able to run that on some level as well?

Obviously I'm missing a piece of the puzzle here. What am I doing wrong?
Let's get an idea of how your system runs now.
Go there, and link the results. For example: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/17688023
Oh, and make sure you close your browser, etc, before running the program.
 
Reactions: sdrober1

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/22012179

There's my latest. I cleaned up my drives a bit too. This is saying my SSD and my RAM are underperforming by a good bit.
Not bad at all.
Don't pay too much attention to Userbench's scoring - it's outdated, but still useful for assisting with finding issues with one's system.
The ram score is fine - it's well within 10% of the average.
Not much to be done about the SSD though. 128GBs doesn't provide a whole lot of headroom, and that particular model's write speeds are a little on the weak side, but it does what it's supposed to do.
 
Reactions: sdrober1
Nov 19, 2019
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Well, I guess I've solved it. I broke down and purchased 16 gigs of 1866 DDR3 and a Hyper 212 cooler, and now things are running much better. Maybe modern games that require 8 gigs of RAM, need more than 8 gigs of DDR3? Can't say for sure. For now, though, everything is back to normal.
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
Well, I guess I've solved it. I broke down and purchased 16 gigs of 1866 DDR3 and a Hyper 212 cooler, and now things are running much better. Maybe modern games that require 8 gigs of RAM, need more than 8 gigs of DDR3? Can't say for sure. For now, though, everything is back to normal.
That's correct. The 8GB recommendation is how much the game uses on it's own.
The OS needs space to use the swap file, prevent fragmentation, and to create temporary files - if there isn't enough free space to do these tasks, it's forced to wait, and everything slows down.
With memory, some extra headroom is a good thing - you don't want it all to ever be in use though. 8GBs used to be enough, but I wouldn't suggest anyone start with that much anymore, as it's rather easy nowadays to use that much or more when playing games.
 

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